Thursday, March 15, 2007

Publishing software, publisher independence, and open access

As posted for discussion to the Society for Scholarly Publishing list:

Within the past few years, there have been some very interesting advances in publishing software.

One example is the free, open source Open Journal Systems, and low-cost hosting and technical support solutions. As one example, the not-for-profit Scholarly Exchange offers one free year of hosting and support, then $750 US per year from the second year.

A software package such as Open Journal Systems automates much of the more routine work of coordinating peer review and editing.

For those not familiar with this kind of software, here is a perspective on how it works, and what it does:

I serve as Editor, Theory / Research for Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research. We use Open Journal Systems as our platform. Authors, peer-reviewers, and editors register themselves, in a process that takes only a few minutes. Articles are electronically submitted; before submission, the author goes through a checklist to ensure that the paper, citations, etc., are in the correct format. I have access to my editorial workspace from anyplace with an internet connection. My workplace lists all the articles in my area, with quick information about status. For example, I can see at a glance which articles need peer review assignment, which reviews are due soon, or are overdue. Assigning a peer reviewer from the pool involves a click of a button; a second click initiaties an e-mail contact with the potential reviewer. When my work is completed, the article disappears from my workspace.

These advances in technology have some important implications.

A few years ago, it would have been very difficult for the small publisher or association to set up their own online publishing. Now, it is easy. This means that journals, associations, and publishers, have much greater ability to be independent in the electronic environment.

This also facilitates open access publishing, by making it possible to publish very high quality electronic journals, at very low cost.

For more information:
Open Journal Systems
Scholarly Exchange
Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

I would be interested in hearing about other publishing platforms, publisher independence, and open access, on or off list.

Any opinion expressed in this e-mail is that of the author alone, and does not reflect the policy or opinion of BC Electronic Library Network or Simon Fraser University Library.

This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access series.

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